Sales agreement and seller's obligations
The seller of a property (apartment, house, land) has the obligation to inform the buyer. Generally speaking, the seller must disclose all the information he has about the real estate. The seller is under an obligation to provide a great deal of information for which he/she has considerable liability. The information must be given to the buyer when the preliminary contract is signed. It is therefore important to be advised by a legal and property specialist before putting property on sale.
What information the seller is it transmitted ?
Certain information must be given according to law. The courts punish any failure by the seller to meet this general obligation .
If the seller conceals important information, the buyer may obtain a price reduction or cancel the sale in more serious situations. The seller is then ordered to repay the price and sometimes to pay compensation to the buyer who has suffered prejudice (removal expenses, cost of finding alternative housing). It is therefore very important to comply with these requirements. The list of information the seller must give to the buyer is constantly increasing.
The seller must provide legal and technical informations ?
In legal terms:
The seller must, for example, inform the buyer of the existence of easements (right of way, visibility, drainage), mortgages or liens (held by a bank to guarantee a loan) or other encumbrances (preliminary promise to sell or advertising display contract).
In technical terms:
- The seller of an apartment in commonhold must, for example, under the rules laid down by the Carrez law, specify the exact surface area of the apartment. The maintenance logbook, which is compulsory for buildings in commonhold, must be given to the potential buyer (Unless it already owns at least a batch in the same condominium), as the building regulations, the division description or the amount of current expenses of the provisional budget and expenses excluding estimated budget sums due to the condominium board, etc.
- The seller must also give the purchaser a significant number of surveys, informing particular, the presence of termites, lead or asbestos. If the sale concerns a piece of building land which the buyer intends to develop for residential or residential/professional purposes, the seller must specify whether the boundaries have been marked and inform the buyer of the town planning rules applicable to the land and of the construction possibilities. In addition, if the building land is a housing development plot, results from a division made within a designated development area by the public or private corporation in charge of the development or results from land consolidation performed by a non-profit making urban land organisation, a description of the land based on the boundary marking must be included in the promise or agreement. The aforementioned boundary marking does not constitute a boundary marking according to Article 646 of the French Civil Code. It cannot be a joint boundary marking, other than the limit of the outer perimeter of the plots. The building’s surroundings must also be taken into consideration: the existence of any natural risks to which the area is susceptible (flooding, landslides), town planning easements, compliance of the house’s individual sewerage system, polluting activities carried out in the vicinity.
- Lastly, private individuals (natural persons or companies to whom capital gains tax on private individuals applies) selling land which is part of their private property and which has been granted the status of building land, may be subject to flat-rate tax, if the municipal council with jurisdiction (or its authorised decision-making body) has decided accordingly. Under these circumstances, the seller will be liable for the tax. The tax will be 10% of 2/3 of the selling price of the land which the notaire will pay on behalf of the seller when the deed of sale is recorded as part of the land registration process.
- I am a tenant of my principal residence and owner of my second home. I want to sell it so I can buy a new home that I will assign to my main home. This residence is worth 300.000 €, but I still have 100.000 € of credit to refund. [...]
- Seven years ago, I had my house extended but I did not take out property damage insurance. I wish to sell my property but the notary tells me that I must personally guarantee the purchaser in case of occurrence of damage covered by the ten-year guarantee.